So When Do We Start Worrying About Steven Matz?

So When Do We Start Worrying About Steven Matz?


So When Do We Start Worrying About Steven Matz?


I don’t want to be the one to put stock in spring training outings. I mean, I could … just to be able to sound alarms for the sake of exercising my writing chops, which have been atrophied over this long winter. To say that this is an important spring training for Steven Matz is, well … duh. Of course it is. But … spring training for Matz just reached Defcon 3 after he got his mammaries lit up by the Nationals and couldn’t get out of the first inning. Getting out of the first inning in spring training is like beating Level 1-1 in Super Mario Bros. It just doesn’t happen all that often.

I don’t know what possessed me to do this, but I went back and watched every pitch that Matz threw and simply looked at location. It wasn’t there. I’ll even leave you my non-capitalized notes that I took on every pitch. Look how many times I type “miss” or “missed”:

  1. bad miss on fb
  2. slight miss belt high for base hit by Trea Turner
  3. strike call
  4. strike, missed inside on fb
  5. curve down the pike for first out
  6. miss high on fb
  7. slight miss on fb
  8. swinging strike, late cut on tv coverage
  9. miss inside on fb
  10. strike, but missed the outside target and went inside
  11. miss inside for ball four with runner on first going on the pitch
  12. curve misses inside
  13. called strike, hit target
  14. hit outside corner, just a little high
  15. missed outside corner, drifted towards middle of plate
  16. inside target, badly missed high
  17. missed high for ball four to Goodwin
  18. curve for strike, ball stayed high
  19. curve hangs, Dominguez makes hard contact for RBI single
  20. foul ball, ball missed high
  21. inside, ball missed high
  22. inside target, ball misses inside
  23. good off speed for swinging strike
  24. low target, ball slightly up, Gutierrez makes good contact for sac fly
  25. ball misses high
  26. ball misses target high and inside
  27. ball misses high, foul ball
  28. good off speed fouled off
  29. ball misses high
  30. bloop double by Severino, ball actually hits target
  31. off speed strike
  32. Kieboom reaches on dribbler, off speed pitch hits target
  33. misses target a little high
  34. Bautista opposite field base hit, ball drifted towards middle of the plate

That’s when Matz was pulled. Travis d’Arnaud gives late targets, but as much as I’ve tried in my life, I can’t blame d’Arnaud for everything. (I tried to blame him for the garbage piling up but I haven’t found a fool proof way to do this yet.) This is on Matz, and he knew it. He even admitted post game that this start was more than just about “working on things”.

Not many players in the majors rely heavily on results in spring training. But with the frustrating season that Matz had last year, he’s one of those guys … especially when things are going bad. His velocity was consistently in the low 90’s, which is fine. It’s healthy. But it’s good only if your location is there, which it wasn’t. It could all mean that there are some mechanical tweaks that Mickey and Davey have to make to save Matz. Getting the ball up when your pitch count isn’t in the 90’s usually points to that. The good news is that this is why Mickey Callaway was brought in. Save the pitchers. They have their first huge test in Steven Matz. Is it time for worry? Perhaps not, because Callaway and Eiland are here for just this reason.

What? They didn’t think they were going to fly fish all spring, Did they?


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